Neurology and Neurosurgery

Below, please find links to all of the clinical trials involving neurology and/or neurosurgery. The studies include a multitude of information, including (but not limited to) the study’s purpose, benefits for participating, and financial incentive information. If you have any questions, please contact the individual outlined at the end of each trial summary.

Please visit the Neurology & Neurosurgery service webpage at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) if you would like to learn more about the amazing things that our neurologists can do for you and your animal.  More information about the Neurology & Neurosurgery service research can be found here.

Cats
Myasthenia Gravis: Understanding the Genetics

Title: MHC Haplotyping of cats with Acquired Myasthenia Gravis

Purpose of Study: Acquired myasthenia gravis is an immune mediated disease. In people, there is an association between genes (HLA DR3) and the myasthenia gravis. If the same is true in cats, it may allow us to identify cats at risk before the development of disease and develop new treatments. The purpose of this study is to determine if cats with acquired myasthenia gravis have a similar genes (MHC haplotype). We will use DNA collected from blood cells to do the genetic analysis.

Contact: Contact Dr. Vernau at (530) 304-9450 or kmvernau@ucdavis.edu.

Participation Requirements: Cats with a confirmed diagnosis of acquired Myasthenia Gravis.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure involved is for the owner or referring veterinarian to submit a blood sample (at least 2 mls) in a small EDTA tubes.

Benefits: There is no direct benefit of this study for you or your cat; however, the information may allow us to identify cats that are at risk and develop new treatments.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian only needs to send in a blood sample that has been collected in a small EDTA tube by over-night FedEx, sent Monday to Thursday.

Dogs

NEW! Brain Tumors: Assessing a New Drug Delivery System

Title: Nanoporphyrin theranostics for canine primary brain tumors: Phase I/II clinical trial

Purpose: This clinical trial is being done to investigate whether small particles called nanoporhphyrins can be used to better visualize tumors during surgery and potentially to see if they will be a useful method to deliver drugs into brain tumors for treatment.

ContactContact Lisa Winn (Neurology Scheduling Coordinator) at llwinn@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393 and follow the prompts for Neurology/Neurosurgery

Participation Requirements: Dogs provisionally diagnosed with a brain tumor

Procedures: If you agree to let your dog participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • Infusion of the nanoporphyrin particles prior to surgery
  • Collection of blood prior to and after infusion and surgery
  • Brain surgery to remove the tumor resected (standard therapy for brain tumors), during which:
    • A special light source will be used to 1) determine if the fluorescent particles are present in the tumor, and 2) potentially help to better define the tumor edges for safe surgical resection
    • Samples of the removed tumor will be sent to the laboratory for evaluation.
    • Following removal of the tumor, the tumor cavity will be illuminated by the light source to help identify any remaining tumor and to potentially help to kill any remaining cells.

Benefits: We hope that this technique will help us better visualize the tumor, allowing for a more complete removal of the tumor, and killing of residual tumor cells following surgical removal. Information obtained from your dog's treatment may help to further develop this type of treatment for both dogs and humans and could improve the treatment in both species in the future.

Additionally, the trial will provide up to $5,000 credit toward your dog’s treatment.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for about standard 5-7 days for any dog getting brain surgery at the VMTH plus 1 additional day prior to surgery to administer the drug. You will be financially responsible for the cost of your dog’s standard treatment during the clinical trial and any complications arising from that treatment or from the experimental clinical trial procedures. The clinical trial will provide up to $5,000 financial support towards these costs. You will be provided with an estimate of the costs that are likely to be incurred during the treatment of your dog. If there are any significant changes to this estimate that arise during treatment, these will be discussed with you prior to proceeding with medical care of your dog.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Brain Tumors in Brachycephalic Breeds

Title: Genome wide association in canine primary brain tumors

Purpose: Brachycephaly, a trait characterized by a short muzzle and wide head, is associated with brain tumors and respiratory problems. This trait is found in several breeds, including Boxers, Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers We are attempting to uncover the genetic cause for brachycephaly in dogs while looking for genes linked to brachycephaly that may increase the risk of developing a brain tumor.

Contact: For information, please email Dr. Dickinson at pjdickinson@ucdavis.edu.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Examination by Dr. Dickinson

Procedures: We are collecting DNA from dogs known or suspected to have a brain tumor. For information, please contact Dr. Dickinson (pjdickinson@ucdavis.edu).

Benefits: There is no direct benefit to you or your dog; however, identification of these genes may allow for:

  • Selective breeding to reduce the frequency of brain tumors in brachycephalic dogs
  • Possible new therapies targeting defective genes

For dogs with confirmed tumors, we can discuss treatment options and available clinical trials that could help treat your dog's tumor.

Owner Responsibilities: Please contact Dr. Dickinson (pjdickinson@ucdavis.edu)

Myasthenia Gravis: Understanding the Genetics

Title: MHC Haplotyping of dogs with Acquired Myasthenia Gravis

Purpose of Study: Acquired myasthenia gravis is an immune mediated disease. In people, there is an association between genes (HLA DR3) and the myasthenia gravis. If the same is true in dogs, it may allow us to identify dogs at risk before the development of disease, and it may allow us to develop new treatments. The purpose of this study is to determine if dogs with acquired myasthenia gravis have a similar genes (MHC haplotype). We will use DNA collected from blood cells to do the genetic analysis. The genetic analysis will be done in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Contact: Contact Dr. Vernau at (530) 752-1393, (530) 304-9450, or kmvernau@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements: Dogs with a confirmed diagnosis of acquired Myasthenia Gravis.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure involved a DNA analysis of a blood sample submitted by the owner (at least 5 mls) in 1-2 EDTA tubes.

Benefits: There is no direct benefit of this study for you or your dog; however, the information may allow us to identify dogs that are at risk and develop new treatments.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner only needs to send in a blood sample that has been collected in 1-2 tubes of EDTA by over-night FedEx, Monday to Thursday.

ON HOLD! Spinal Cord Injuries in Dogs: Finding a Treatment

Title: Transplantation and Tracking of Autologous Epidermal Neural Crest Stem Cells into the Spinal Cord of Dogs with Acute Severe Spinal Cord Injury

Purpose of Study: Dogs that have suffered spinal cord trauma due to a disc herniation are typically treated with decompressive surgery and medication of various kinds. Most dogs do very well with this treatment. However, dogs that have suffered an injury severe enough to cause complete paralysis and loss of feeling to the hind legs often do not recover with conventional treatment. In these dogs, stem cell therapy may improve the ability of the dog to use his/her hind legs and/or to have control of his/her bladder. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of stem cell therapy as a potential treatment for acute severe spinal cord injuries in dogs.